5 October 2012 – The ITF has expressed its strong backing for Rob McEllrath, international president of the ILWU, following the decision by Cowlitz County Court, Washington State at the end of September 2012 to fine him $500 and sentence him to a day in jail for ‘obstructing a train’. The case followed a peaceful protest on 7 September 2011, when union members and supporters had gathered to protest against a train carrying grain destined for the Port of Longview, which was refusing to honour ILWU jurisdiction. Several months later, the company agreed to settle the dispute and signed a contract with the union in February 2012.
ITF general secretary David Cockroft said: “We are completely behind Bob. This case should have been dropped long ago, as he was simply helping his members fight for their jobs. Bob will be standing up for his members today as he does every day, without breaking stride.”
ITF president and Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) national secretary Paddy Crumlin commented: “When Big Bob attended the MUA Quadrennial Conference earlier this year, we made it absolutely clear that we were behind him 100 per cent. This case provides yet another reminder that unions across the world need to continue to work together to stop the war on workers.”